LONDON – London Fashion Week swung into its third day Sunday with Topshop Unique debuting a new "runway to retail" model for fashion-hungry consumers, while luxury goods brand Mulberry showed off a collection rich in feminine ruffles and school uniform-inspired stripes.
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Some highlights from Day 3 of the 5-day style extravaganza:
FASTER FASHION AT TOPSHOP UNIQUE
Topshop Unique's '80s-inspired collection has something for everyone: Zebra prints, sassy high-slit dresses, tuxedos and hot pink shoes. Even better for the brand's mostly young fans: Much of it can be bought with a click, straight from the catwalk.
The retail giant has big words for its new runway-to-retail business model: "The future of the fashion show," and the "democratization" of London Fashion Week.
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Whatever one calls it, it's clear what this trend means — faster fashion, for anyone with internet around the world. Topshop's Unique label may be the first at London Fashion Week to reach out to more consumers with its "see now, buy now" plan, but it certainly won't be the last.
As for the clothes? They're young and fun as usual, though this season there are more grown-up looks that wouldn't look out of place in a traditional office: Silk and ruffle blouses, high-waisted tapered trousers, tailored waistcoats and smart tuxedo jackets that are sexy but understated.
There's no shortage of party wear and "look at me" pieces for the more adventurous, though. Slits are daringly high, especially on shiny black vinyl skirts and a bright yellow slip dress. A head-to-toe hot pink ensemble, worn with big permed hair, pays homage to '80s dressing, as does a silky zebra shirt dress with matching heels.
MULBERRY DOES COLLEGIATE STRIPES
Mulberry's new season collection is all about ruffles and stripes — lashings of them.
Drawing inspiration from the British classroom, creative director Johnny Coca filled his catwalk with tailoring and collegiate style stripes reimagined in a host of new shapes and rich autumnal colors: Burgundy, navy, mustard, purple. The stripes also featured on the brand's much-coveted leather handbags, which this season came either oversized or as a boxy little accessory.
Mulberry is best known for its luxury bags, but this season Coca made sure that the clothes were as interesting as the bags. Schoolgirl-like blazers were worn with asymmetrical-hemmed skirts that flowed around the knees as the models walked. Utilitarian khaki coats appeared alongside intricate crystal embroidery and ultra-feminine ruffles, which cascaded down many outfits — even the mule shoes came with ruffles.
Standout looks were high-shine outfits sure to make a splash: There are dresses in the brightest lemon yellow, and a metallic foil-like number that shimmered like liquid silver.